Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk, Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study
JAMA Intern Med. Oct 22, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4357
Julia Baudry, PhD1; Karen E. Assmann, PhD1; Mathilde Touvier, PhD1; et al Benjamin Allès, PhD1; Louise Seconda, MSc1; Paule Latino-Martel, PhD1; Khaled Ezzedine, MD, PhD1,2; Pilar Galan, MD, PhD1; Serge Hercberg, MD, PhD1,3; Denis Lairon, PhD4; Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, PhD1
Note: Eating organic food is associated with
- No Pesticides (such as Roundup )
- Many pesticides are known to decrease vitamin D levels
- Fertilizers which include micronutrients
- such as Magnesium and Boron, both of which increase Vitamin D levels
- Better taste rather than better shelf-life
Note: People who eat organic food also
- Smoke less
- Exercise more
- Eat less meat
- Note: Model 3 corrects for eating less meat and smoking less
- Note: Organic meat tends to be raised out of doors and have no antibiotics and thus have more vitamin D
- PCBs increased the chance of being Vitamin D deficient by 3 percent – May 2013
- Use of pesticides have created crops which do not have their own pesticides (i.e. far less resveratrol, etc)
- Pesticides increase risk of Cancers, Alz, ALS, Asthma, ADHD, etc. (all related to low vitamin D) – Oct 2016
- DDT and other pesticides decrease vitamin D
- If parents exposed to pesticides, genes changed. will need more vitamin D to avoid Prostate Cancer – July 2013
- Reminder - epigenetics
- PCBs reduce vitamin D levels (during pregnancy) – Nov 2013
- DDT 3.8 X more prevalent with Alzheimer disease (no mention that DDT decreases vitamin D) – Jan 2014
- Reasons for low response to vitamin D
- Hypothesis - Reduced food nutrition has reduced our health
- What happened to "an apple a day" - Dec 2013
- Apples used to have far fewer pesticides and 10X more Magnesium
- ALS treated by vitamin D 5X higher if pesticides has the following
- The use of herbicides and pesticides that kill off worms and bacteria in the soil.
- It is the bacteria in the soil that make it possible for plants to absorb minerals.
- Potash (potassium chloride or potassium carbonate) being used as a fertiliser. This is taken up by plants in preference to Calcium and Magnesium.
- Question What is the association between an organic food–based diet (ie, a diet less likely to contain pesticide residues) and cancer risk?
- Findings In a population-based cohort study of 68 946 French adults, a significant reduction in the risk of cancer was observed among high consumers of organic food.
- Meaning A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer; if the findings are confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer.
Importance Although organic foods are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods, few studies have examined the association of organic food consumption with cancer risk.
Objective To prospectively investigate the association between organic food consumption and the risk of cancer in a large cohort of French adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants In this population-based prospective cohort study among French adult volunteers, data were included from participants with available information on organic food consumption frequency and dietary intake. For 16 products, participants reported their consumption frequency of labeled organic foods (never, occasionally, or most of the time). An organic food score was then computed (range, 0-32 points). The follow-up dates were May 10, 2009, to November 30, 2016.
Main Outcomes and Measures This study estimated the risk of cancer in association with the organic food score (modeled as quartiles) using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for potential cancer risk factors.
Results Among 68 946 participants (78.0% female; mean [SD] age at baseline, 44.2 [14.5] years), 1340 first incident cancer cases were identified during follow-up, with the most prevalent being 459 breast cancers, 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers, 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 15 other lymphomas. High organic food scores were inversely associated with the overall risk of cancer (hazard ratio for quartile 4 vs quartile 1, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.88; P for trend = .001; absolute risk reduction, 0.6%; hazard ratio for a 5-point increase, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.96).
Conclusions and Relevance A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer. Although the study findings need to be confirmed, promoting organic food consumption in the general population could be a promising preventive strategy against cancer.
Worldwide, the number of new cases of cancer was estimated in 2012 at more than 14 million,1,2 and cancer remains one of the leading causes of mortality in France. Among the environmental risk factors for cancer, there are concerns about exposure to different classes of pesticides, notably through occupational exposure.3 A recent review4 concluded that the role of pesticides for the risk of cancer could not be doubted given the growing body of evidence linking cancer development to pesticide exposure. While dose responses of such molecules or possible cocktail effects are not well known, an increase in toxic effects has been suggested even at low concentrations of pesticide mixtures.5
Meanwhile, the organic food market continues to grow rapidly in European countries,6 propelled by environmental and health concerns.7-10 Organic food standards do not allow the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms and restrict the use of veterinary medications.11 As a result, organic products are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods.12,13 According to a 2018 European Food Safety Authority13 report, 44% of conventionally produced food samples contained 1 or more quantifiable residues, while 6.5% of organic samples contained measurable pesticide residues. In line with this report, diets mainly consisting of organic foods were linked to lower urinary pesticide levels compared with “conventional diets” in an observational study14 of adults carried out in the United States (the median dialkyphosphate concentration among low organic food consumers was 163 nmol/g of creatinine, while among regular organic food consumers it was reduced to 106 nmol/g of creatinine). This finding was more marked in a clinical study15 from Australia and New Zealand (a 90% reduction in total dialkyphosphate urinary biomarkers was observed after an organic diet intervention) conducted in adults.
Because of their lower exposure to pesticide residues, it can be hypothesized that high organic food consumers may have a lower risk of developing cancer. Furthermore, natural pesticides allowed in organic farming in the European Union16 exhibit much lower toxic effects than the synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming.17 Nevertheless, only 1 study18 to date has focused on the association between frequency of organic food consumption and cancer risk, reporting a lower risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) only. However, consumption of organic food was assessed using only a basic question. Multiple studies19-24 have reported a strong positive association between regular organic food consumption and healthy dietary habits and other lifestyles. Hence, these factors should be carefully accounted for in etiological studies in this research field. In the present population-based cohort study among French adult volunteers, we sought to prospectively examine the association between consumption frequency of organic foods, assessed through a score evaluating the consumption frequency of organic food categories, and cancer risk in the ongoing, large-scale French NutriNet-Santé cohort. The follow-up dates of the study were May 10, 2009, to November 30, 2016.
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